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What It’s Like to RV in a Vintage Trailer

At some point in your camping life, no matter how skilled you are at starting a fire or pitching a tent in under five minutes, eventually you tire of tenting. That’s exactly what happened to Kelsy Nielson when she bought a 1972 Boler two years ago. “We really liked the outdoor lifestyle, but we were sick of not having power and often being cold at night,” says Kelsy. “We wanted an RV, but something light that we could pull with a small SUV or truck.”

Comfort is a big a priority when your family of four includes six- and eight-year-old girls. Their Boler has been the perfect transition from sleeping on the ground to RVing. “Spontaneous road trips are easy when you have a little trailer. You can quickly pack up and head to the lake for a single night on the weekend,” she says. Good thing, too, because Kelsy is an Alberta Parks Ambassador who loves exploring the province and finding hidden Alberta gems. Kananaskis is one of their favourite places.

Bolers have always had a fond place in the hearts of Canadians. Legend has it that the mould was originally used to make septic tanks. Winnipeg inventor and car salesman Ray Olecko produced the first 100 Bolers in 1968, choosing the name because the design resembled a round-brimmed bowler hat. Fewer than 10,000 Bolers exist today.

The resurgence of vintage-trailering also appeals to DIYers who take pride in renovating these 50-year-old trailers. “Ours was in rough shape. We spent one winter putting in about 100 hours,” says Kelsy. “We did everything ourselves except for reupholstery.”

A word of caution though to anyone interested in a Boler: they’re a conversation starter. “When we take it out, everyone stops to talk to us. We don’t mind. It’s fun.”